Istanbul Memories at Turkce Yer

We came across this mammoth of a place in Timog. It had an odd name, “Turkce Yer”. I’m not even sure how to pronounce it. The place was huge, like a lobby of a office building with all these Turkish travel posters hung up on the walls. As I stepped inside, I saw a Turkish guy in chef’s whites. I smiled, great…they have someone from the place who does the food!

We sat and ordered. I couldn’t help but see the little glass tea cups on the next table…the last place I saw that was in Istanbul and Kusadasi when we visited what was believed to be the Virgin Mary’s last home before she died. Aww the wonderful memories of that apple tea…I was surely having that after dinner!

And so we ordered…there were some misses…there were some hits, here is the good stuff:

1. Rice wrapped in Grape Leaves – i know this is called Dolmades, but I don’t remember the name in this restaurant. It’s usually served cold with these wonderfully steamed grape leaf rolls, with rice and some meat inside. The rolls are drizzled with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil, and for Turkce Yer, they use REAL TURKISH OLIVE OIL! That kind that has a peppery bite to it…which is delicious! I mean how many “Authentic” Turkish/Greek/Persian places actually have this done correctly? This was definitely done right.

2. Chicken Platter with Rice – I don’t remember what they called it in the restaurant, but its the chicken platter with the rice. Although the pizza-like pita you see here in the picture was a tad over-herbed, the RICE was definitely something I haven’t tasted in my life and it was delicious! The rice reminded me of ORZO, which is a rice grain shaped pasta, but this was rice, and it was nice and super-moist, with the rice grains all intact. It was great with the chicken and the side-salad…I would’ve had a second helping of the rice if we didn’t order other stuff.

3. Doner – yes! Nothing says “I’m broke and I can’t afford to eat in luxury” in Europe than eating in a place with a giant “DONER” posted in its window. The doner is what folks here in the Philippines would call a shawarma, it’s a pita with a meat cooked in a vertical bbq inside, along with some veggies and sauce. This is also called a Gyros in Greek places. In Europe, when you see a Doner sign, you think, cheap, quick and good eats. Even I’d grab one before a shopping spree in Madrid. Doners are all over the place, and the doner in this place is done well. The meat is tender, (not overcooked and tastes like adobo in most shawarma places here) properly seasoned (the turkish way!) and cooked. The vegetables add a little crunch to it, and the chef already puts in a bit of the sauce inside so you don’t have to. Yum! Their chili sauce also seems homemade in this place…definitely a must in your doner.

Though I wasn’t too happy about the other stuff (for the bev follks out there, the Yogurt drink is a total not since you can even taste the grit of the milk powder and it doesn’t taste anything like yogurt at all), I can say that these are the must-eats. Should you go there feeling adventurous enough to try the other stuff…well, you should put these three on the top of your lists before anything else. Also, the tea they gave me after the meal wasn’t anything like the one I had in Turkey…oh well I guess I’ll really just have to sit and wait till I get to go back there again.


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  1. You have a new fan! I love your stuff here and will be back again.

  2. Thanks elane!

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